Licensing and royalties
1a. Name three societies that look
after royalties and licensing and describe and explain what these societies do.
PRS ( Performance right society) is a society
for songwriters, composers and music publishers to license their musical
compositions and lyrics.
They pay their members when their music has been
performed live, been used in film and tv, broadcasted, downloaded, streamed and
played in public (PRS for music, 2017).
MCPS (Mechanical copyright protection) is
another society for songwriters, composers and music publishers which also
maintains songwriters, composers and music publishers. MCPS are representing
their members mechanical rights when their music is reproduced as a physical
product such as CDs, DVDs, digital downloads and videos and also featured in
films and TV commercials. (PRS for music, 2017).
PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) is a
license company based in the UK. This society is for performers and record
companies where they collect and distribute money for the use of recorded music
on CDs, music played on the internet or music played through radio or tv (PPL, 2017).
1b. Why are the above sociaties so
important for the music industry?
Licensing is a good way to keep the process
between music makers and music users simple and straight forward for both
parties. If these societies did not exist, businesses would have to contact
every songwriter, composer and music publisher themselves and ask for
permission to use their music. However songwriters, composers and music
publishers in that case would have to deal with a lot of requests from music
users (PRS for music, 2017).
These societies are a simple way to keep track
of where and when the music is performed.
To make sure that the royalties will be paid to
the right people all music needs to be registered and available somewhere. For
example when a song is played on Spotify, Spotify must pay to PRS for their use
of it. PRS then accounts for the correct amount to each songwriter, publisher
If a business are going to play recorded music
they will need to have a PPL license to avoid infringing copyright and face
legal proceedings (PRS for music, 2017).
2. Give an example of a copyright
infringement case and describing, explaining and critically commenting on it
Harrisons song “My Sweet Lord” was released in 1970 and became number one on
the charts in over sixteen countries.
a brilliant start to his solo career with this song, although My Sweet Lord
proved to be very similar to “He’s So Fine” by the American girl group The
a few months after its release, Harrison was sued for copyright infringement by
Bright Tunes Music, the publisher of “He’s so fine” on behalf of the songwriter
Harrisons biography he says “I wasn’t consciously aware of the similarity
between ‘He’s so fine’ and ‘ My Sweet Lord’ when I wrote the song, as it was
more improvised and not so fixed” (I, Me, Mine, 1980).
The judge said that it was obvious
that the two songs were virtually identical, however he was convicted that
Harrison did not copy the melody counsiously. Harrison conceded that since he
had heard “He’s so fine” his subconscious knew the combination of chords in the
The law process became one of the most elaborate in
history. Twenty-seven years later, it was definitely completed. Harrison had to
pay compensation to Ronnie Mack’s rights holder (ultimate classic rock, 2016).
In my opinion there is definitely similarities between
“My Sweet Lord” and “He’s so fine” in terms of the chords and melodies, however
I do not believe that Harrison intentionally plagiarized “He’s so fine”. In
fact I think that every songwriter often borrow parts and ideas from other
songs without realizing it. I believe that as music keeps growing in different
genres, someone is bound to use the same chords and words as someone else
without knowing it.
Although even if he did not do copy it deliberately,
it is still under the law infringement of copyright.
3. What would the music industry look
like without licensing and royalties?
Compare the UK to other parts of the
world that have more relaxed or non-excisting copyright.
industry without licencing and royalties would basically mean that no one would
get paid and In that case I do not think that the industry would be this big.
people would eventually stop creating music if they would not get paid or
credit for the work they have done.
composers or publishers for example are all proffesions which means that they
have the same right as anyone else with another profession to get paid and
credit for the work they have done.
“Music wouldn’t exist without the work of
songwriters, composers and publishers. We’re here to represent them and ensure
that they are rewarded for their creations.” (PRS for music, 2017).
licensing and royalties I also believe that music piracy would increase. If the
music is not registered anywhere it would mean that anyone could copy and
distribute of copies of a piece of work for which the composer, artist or
whoever is the copyright holder, did not give consent. Without copyright and
licensing it would be impossible to find out who would be paid when and for
copyright system in Brazil is administered by ECAD, which is responsible for
collecting all royalties from exercise, mechanical and related rights and then
distribute to the relevant authors. These communities then distribute royalties
to their members.
has not shown accuracy in the distribution of collections and an investigation
revealed errors far from ECADs legal rights. They created IBDA to act as an
intermediary between artists and collective societies by helping them dispute
new law clarifies the licensing concept to give the author more control over
their work. It will also allow a person who owns an album to create copies of
it for personal use without permission. Underclared work can also be reproduced
without the permission for non-commercial purposes.The rising of broadband and
mobile services increases the worry about illegal file sharing.
change proposed regarding the music market is that the playing of songs through
payment or favors will be considered a “violation of the economic order and the
right to free culture”.
in the UK does have an Anti- piracy Unit to protect the copyright of PRS
members. They help you investigate copyright violations and, when necessary,
take legal action (The music business journal, 2010).
PRS for music, 2017.
PRS and MCPS (Online) Available at: https://prsformusic.com/what-we-do/prs-and-mcps (Accessed: November 26, 2017)
PPL, 2017. PPL and PRS
for music (online) Available at: http://www.ppluk.com/I-Play-Music/PPL-and-PRS-for-Music-/ (Accessed: November 26, 2017)
UK government, 2017.
Licence to play background music (PPL) (online) Available at: https://www.gov.uk/licence-to-play-background-music-ppl (Accessed: December 6, 2017)
PRS for music, 2017.
Licensing music (online) Available at: https://prsformusic.com/what-we-do/licensing-music (Accessed: December 6, 2017)
Harrison George, 1980.
I, Me, Mine (Genesis publications)
The music business journal,
2010. A far reaching copyright change in Brazil (online) Available at: http://www.thembj.org/2010/10/a-far-reaching-copyright-change-in-brazil/ (Accessed: December 6, 2017)
Ultimate classic rock, 2016. 40 years ago: George Harrison found guilty
of ‘My sweet Lord’ plagiarism (online) Available at: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/george-harrison-my-sweet-lord-plagiarism/ (Accessed: December 6, 2017)